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The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees. In January 2012, Guatemala assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.


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Geography

Location
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize

Geographic coordinates
15 30 N, 90 15 W

Map references
Central America and the Caribbean

Area World Ranking: 107
Total 108,889 sq km
Land 107,159 sq km
Water 1,730 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Tennessee

Land boundaries
Total 1,687 km
Border countries
Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km

Coastline
400 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate
Tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Terrain
Mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m
Note
Highest point in Central America

Natural resources
Petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Land use
Arable land 13.22%
Permanent crops 5.6%
Other 81.18% (2005)

Irrigated land
2,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
111.3 cu km (2000)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 2.01 cu km/yr (6%/13%/80%)
Per capita 160 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
Volcanism
Significant volcanic activity in the Sierra Madre range; Santa Maria (elev. 3,772 m) has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pacaya (elev. 2,552 m), which erupted in May 2010 causing an ashfall on Guatemala City and prompting evacuations, is one of the country's most active volcanoes with frequent eruptions since 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Acatenango, Almolonga, Atitlan, Fuego, and Tacana

Environment - current issues
Deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
No natural harbors on west coast


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  Guatemala (Guatemala City):


  GPS points from Guatemala (Guatemala City)

Rio Paxula Departamento De Chimaltenango

Tierra Blanca Departamento De Chiquimula

El Socorro Departamento De Santa Rosa

Rio Xetzac Departamento De Chimaltenango

Tierra Colorada Departamento De Zacapa

Chiquimulilla Departamento De Santa Rosa

Pampa El Garzal Departamento De Retalhuleu

Cotoxa Departamento De Izabal




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